I have spent much of this past weekend grieving for the beautiful, smart, feisty-spirited, freckled, red-haired Irish woman I love. From everything I have seen for the past seventeen months, there is nothing left of the amazing woman I asked to marry me on June 22, 2011 but the pathetic, weak and cowardly drug-addicted alcoholic that is all I have seen since she stopped speaking to me on June 29, 2011—right after I confronted her about her drinking.
Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is someone I have known all of her life. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is the eldest daughter and second child of two people I had considered family for over a decade by the time she was born. I have known John and Sue Kelley for over 30 years, since before they were even married and considered them good friends and part of my family for almost all of that time.
I remember Lauren Elizabeth Kelley as the adorable infant and toddler with curly red-hair. I watched Lauren Elizabeth Kelley grow from an adorable toddler into a very strong-willed, stubborn, and tempermental child that was often selfish and could throw a temper tantrum like no other I’ve ever seen. I remember how that child became an adolescent that had grown so much emotionally and spiritually and became my friend in her own right.
Even though Lauren Elizabeth Kelley had been subjected to years of emotional abuse by her father John, somehow, she grew into a compassionate, generous, gracious and beautiful young woman. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley managed to become something far greater than one would have guessed possible, given how spoiled and selfish a child she had once been.
Of course, I have loved Lauren Elizabeth Kelley all of her life. At first, it was as the adorable daughter of two of my close friends. Then, as she became a teenager, I loved Lauren Elizabeth Kelley as my friend in her own right. When her parents checked out of her life about seven years ago, I was the person who checked in as her friend, mentor, guide, and protector. It was a role that I was asked to take on by her mother and I became the liaison between John and Sue and their two oldest children—Lauren Elizabeth and her brother Johnny Jr.
Finally, last summer, I realized how much my love for Lauren Elizabeth Kelley had grown and changed—much as Lauren Elizabeth Kelley herself had over the years—and the beautiful young woman she had become had become the woman I love most of all and I realized that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is not the person I would have expected to love at this point in my life. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley is a lot younger than me and I did not expect to find her in my heart, but when I looked in my heart last summer, there she was.
In some ways, I am not surprised that I love Lauren Elizabeth Kelley. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and I have been very close friends and confidantes for years. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and I have trusted each other implicitly for years and shared all of our secrets, dreams, hopes, goals and fears with each other. I’ve spent many nights talking through until the sun arose behind us with her. I have been her greatest supporter and number one fan—always helping her achieve her goals and helping to make her dreams come true. I have always been there for her—steadfast and unwavering—even when her own family was not.
Last summer, I was told by a mutual friend of Lauren’s mother Sue, that Sue had said that she would not be surprised if Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and I became more than the close friends we were a couple of years earlier. When I spoke to Sue about asking Lauren to marry me, she did not seem surprised at all, nor did she treat me any differently than before. I think that Sue knows what kind of person I am and that I will keep my commitments to her eldest daughter—because she has known me for 30 years and knows what I have been through with Su, Gee, and Yoon. Sue’s last text message to me was, “Dan, I know you will always be there for us.”
Lauren Elizabeth Kelley has grown into a truly remarkable young woman. When I asked Lauren Elizabeth Kelley to marry me, I was expecting one of three responses—either a yes, a no, or possibly a “No, you’re crazy” and her running away from me. Instead, what Lauren Elizabeth Kelley did was first ask me if Gee would be angry at us, at her or at me if we got married—if I got re-married. I explained the last promise I had made to Gee just before her death was a promise to not “close my heart to the world” after she was gone and that I promised Gee I would re-marry if I met someone I loved enough. I told Lauren Elizabeth Kelley that I knew she was the woman that Gee had asked me to seek out after she died. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley then told me she wished she had had a chance to meet Gee and that she really regretted never having had a chance to meet Gee. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley then told me she loved me with a simple declaration of “I love you.”
We then spent most of a week talking about everything that was involved in starting a life together. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley told me what she wanted to name our first two children—Kelley and Cadence were the names she had told me and she said that the were suitable for either boys or girls. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley told me she adored Asians with freckles—which given my Korean heritage and her red-haired, freckled Irish background, our children would most likely be. We talked about religion, when we’d get married, where we’d get married and almost every other subject that would be necessary for us to start a life together.
On the night of June 28, 2011, Lauren Elizabeth Kelley asked to see the claddagh ring I had bought her. Earlier in the week, we had discussed the plain gold claddagh ring I had bought for her and how it would only serve as her engagement ring until we were actually married. I had been designing a custom, platinum claddagh band that would have a heart-shaped diamond as the stone for her wedding/engagement band for her wedding/engagement band for when we were married. We agreed that her gold claddagh ring would be held in trust for our first daughter to have on her 16th birthday. I told Lauren Elizabeth Kelley I would bring the claddagh ring with me when I was going to see her next, in a few days, after she was back from a weekend down at her family’s Cape house.
The next day, I confronted Lauren Elizabeth Kelley about her drinking, not realizing at the time that she was a drug-addict and an alcoholic, who had been falling to her addictions for over a month. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley pushed me away and we haven’t spoken since that day. She has refused to acknowledge me or speak to me since that afternoon—when she also started to tell the vicious lies about who we are to each other and how we feel about each other.
I understand that pushing away the people they love most is fairly common behavior for drug addicts or alcoholics that are confronted about their addictions by their loved ones. I also understand that lying about their loved ones to push them away is also pretty common among drug addicts and alcoholics. I doubt that it is a coincidence that Lauren Elizabeth Kelley stopped speaking to me and started lying about me on the same afternoon I confronted her about her drinking.
I have spent the past seventeen months trying to help my beautiful and much beloved freckled, red-haired Irish rose get the help she needs to no avail. I have finally come to the conclusion that if nothing is left but the drug-addicted alcoholic that is all I have seen for the past seventeen months and that there is nothing more of the beautiful, feisty, smart, strong, stubborn and honest woman I love, then it is time for me to move on.
I have come to the realization that I can not stand by and watch the stupid, craven, cowardly and dishonest drug-addicted alcoholic destroy everything I love about Lauren Elizabeth Kelley. I can not take the abuse and lies that her addictions make the pathetic, weak, drug-addicted alcoholic do and say any longer. I can not stay and still remain the person that loves Lauren Elizabeth Kelley—or stay the person that the real Lauren Elizabeth Kelley loves. I do not want to become a bitter, angry, and hateful person that despises and loathes what my beautiful Irish lass has become because of her addictions. I do not want to become someone that I would despise as much as Lauren Elizabeth Kelley would despise and loathe the drug-addicted alcoholic she has become if she were healthy.
It isn’t that I stopped loving Lauren Elizabeth Kelley. I have loved Lauren Elizabeth Kelley all of her life and always will. I love Lauren Elizabeth Kelley more than anyone else I have ever known and I have loved her longer than I knew Shelley, Su, Gee and Yoon combined. I do not want to walk away from my beloved Lauren Elizabeth Kelley—but if all that is left of her is the drug-addicted alcoholic that has done nothing but lie about who we are to each other and how we feel about each other for seventeen months, then I have no reason to stay.
So, this January, I am moving on and letting Lauren Elizabeth Kelley go. If all she is now is the drug-addicted alcoholic, then we have nothing to talk about and no reason to care about each other. A drug-addicted alcoholic can not care about anyone or anything except her next drink or blunt. Until Lauren Elizabeth Kelley finds the courage, strength and will to fight her addictions—she will not be able to love anyone—even herself. Lauren Elizabeth Kelley will not be able to accept anyone’s love for her—even one as strong and true as the one we have shared for twenty years.
I will mourn for my beautiful Lauren Elizabeth Kelley and grieve for the beautiful future she and I had talked about that week in June—the one with Asians with freckles…and I will move on and not look back. Darcie Sims, the keynote speaker at this past summer’s Twinless Twins’s conference said that “Grief is the price we pay for love.” I have never loved anyone as much or as long as I have Lauren Elizabeth Kelley—and I know I will never grieve for someone as much as I will for my beautiful beloved fierce and feisty Irish lass.
I choose to remember Lauren Elizabeth Kelley as the beautiful, confident, strong, smart and honest woman that I love rather than the pale, weak, craven and dishonest drug-addicted alcoholic shadow that she has been for seventeen months.
I am only abiding by the woman I love because Lauren Elizabeth Kelley was once a devout Catholic and we both believed in Christmas as a time of miracles and a season of love and hope. I keep praying for my beloved and hope that Lauren Elizabeth Kelley finds the serenity and grace to love herself, trust herself and believe in herself once again. I hope that Lauren Elizabeth Kelley will love herself enough to face her fears and fight her addictions and return to being the amazing woman I know God has always meant for her to be. I hope Lauren Elizabeth Kelley will do this before January, so that she and I can start on the future we once talked about.
Even if none of this comes to pass, I will always wish the best for Lauren Elizabeth Kelley because she is someone I love. I hope that she finds success, long-life, health, happiness and most of all love. I doubt that she will find any of that until she realizes she has a problem with drugs and alcohol and chooses to fight her addictions.
If my beloved Lauren Elizabeth Kelley chooses to fight her addictions and wants my help on her long to road to recovery, she should seek me out and make her amends. If Lauren Elizabeth Kelley can prove to me that she is again herself—the woman that I love—the woman that loves me and show me that she has made a place for me in her life beside her and is willing to fight to keep me there, I will help her as I have promised her mother Sue and her sister Bridget. That is my vow to the woman I love, my promise to my friend, and my duty to the woman the woman that loves me.
God Bless you Lauren Elizabeth.
May God watch over you and protect you from all harm—even that you cause yourself.
I hope God gives you the strength to fight your addictions and the wisdom to see the truth about what the alcohol and drugs are doing to you.
I pray that God grants you the serenity and peace you will need to love yourself once again and to forgive yourself for the things your addictions have made you do.
I ask that God helps you find your way back to being the amazing, beautiful, intelligent, feisty, stubborn, strong, and devout woman He wants you to be.
Finally, may He grant you the ability to see yourself as I do and let you remember who we are to each other; let you remember the years of friendship, love and devotion we once shared; and give you the strength to make amends so we can start the future together we talked about last June.
All this in Jesus’s name I pray.